Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. – 1 Samuel 13:8
Whether we know it or not, at some point in our lives, we will all be confronted with the choice to either wait or not. Waiting is not an easy experience; however, God never intends for it to break you but to build you. Delay does not necessarily mean denial; it means God has a better time. You must learn to “trust the heart of God even when you can’t see His hands.” If God says wait, He has a plan!
There are consequences when you don’t wait for God’s time and choose hasty short cuts. Saul here paints a tragic story about the danger of ‘impatience to wait on God.’ He expected Samuel, to show up at a particular time but He didn’t, so he was confronted with the question, “To wait or not to wait?”
Saul chose to wait for a while and not any longer. The situation was desperate and God delayed; he therefore sought a costly alternative which cost him everything. It is easy to blame Saul, but if you don’t pay attention to the details of the events that led to his impatience, you can also become a victim of the dangers of not waiting (or of impatience).
One reason why Saul couldn’t wait any longer on God was because he focused too much on himself and that is evident in his excuse to Samuel, “And Saul said, because I saw that the people were scattered FROM ME.” Saul couldn’t stand the feeling of ‘loss of importance’ that came with people leaving HIM. He must have imagined that the people saw ‘HIM’ as a weak leader or as someone who couldn’t make decisions HIMSELF; therefore, he acted to save face. That was pride in action!
Again, Saul feared the presumed bad consequences of what the Philistine army would do to him. He said, “The Philistines will now come down on me…” Like Saul, rather than wait, you are most likely to get impatient and run ahead of God because of the fear of presumed bad consequences. For example, “What if I don’t get it now, would I ever get it again?” “What if I miss this opportunity, getting married will become difficult.” “If I don’t share in this illegal money, I will forever be derided by my colleagues.” “If I don’t alter some facts on my resume, I may lose this job opportunity,” of “If I don’t allow this lecturer ‘have his way,’ I may not graduate from school.” Who says God is limited to your options? Who says what you fear will happen? What made Saul think the Philistines will run him over?
Therefore, be mindful of what you focus on while waiting, and chose to walk by faith not by sight (fear).
+ Pray for grace to be focused on the right things as you wait on God; and not to choose hasty shortcuts.
+ Ask for God’s mercy where you made an alternative arrangement rather than wait; and ask that the blood of Jesus will obliterate every negative consequence of your actions.